Sharing an Indian and Pakistani street food classic – masala fries or spicy French fries. Crispy French fries are tossed in a spicy and tangy spice blend and served hot with ketchup. This quick potato recipe is lip smacking delicious and is bound to be your next favourite snack.
What are spicy chili French fries?
This style of French fries are also called masala fries or thelay walay fries in India and Pakistan. The word thela means roadside stall and these spicy chili French fries are sold at roadside stalls around the country.
The special thing about these fries is that they are tossed in a spicy and tangy spice blend, also called a masala. The French fries are then doused with ketchup that is more sweet than tangy. You get the crispness of the fries, the spice from the masala, and the sweetness from the ketchup all in one bite. The masala is hot, and it can make your lips burn, but it’s so addictive that you can’t stop eating.
How to make masala French fries?
- Make the spice mix: The first step to making these fries is making the spice mix. Add all the powdered spices in a medium sized bowl and mix well. If you are not a fan of spice, you can decrease the quantity.
- Make the French fries: I prefer to use frozen French fries because of convenience, but you can use raw potatoes to make French fries from scratch. Fry the potatoes till golden and crispy.
- Mix and toss: Add the French fries into the bowl with the spice mix, cover with a plate and toss vigorously for 30 seconds. Hold onto the plate as a cover and turn the bowl upside down to shake. Make sure the French fries are hot, as this will mean that the spices will stick to the fries.
- Serve: Take off the plate, add lemon juice and give the fries another toss. Serve hot with ketchup and chai. Ketchup is necessary to balance out the spiciness of the fries.
Spicy chili French fries – the ingredients:
- Chaat masala: Chaat masala is an Indian and Pakistani spice blend with a salty, tangy, and spicy flavour profile. It's added on top of sliced fruit, or added in fruit chaat, a sweet and spicy Pakistani fruit chaat. I use my homemade version, but you can also buy it from the supermarket.
- Red chili powder: The amount of chili powder can be adjusted as per taste. Or you can substitute with paprika or cayenne powder which has less of a kick as compared to red chili powder.
- Dried mango powder: Dried mango powder or amchur powder is made from raw unripe mangoes known as kairi / keri and has a sour fruity flavour. The unripe green mangoes are peeled, thinly sliced, and sun-dried. The dried slices can be purchased on their own, or they are ground into powder and sold as amchur powder. Amchur powder can be purchased from Indian and Pakistani grocery stores. If not available, then increase the quantity of chaat masala in the recipe.
- Lemon juice: Fresh lemon juice is the best, but you can substitute with a packaged version as well.
- Potatoes: This recipe is super versatile, and can be made using raw potatoes or frozen French fries. In fact, you can even use other types of frozen potato products such as potato wedges, curly fries, or crinkle fries. I personally use frozen French fries which I cook in the air fryer or oven for this recipe as minimal oil is used, and it’s also convenient.
- Ketchup: Technically not an ingredient but a necessary dip to be served on the side of these French fries. These masala fries are spicy, and you need the sweetness from the ketchup to balance out the spiciness.
Some other Pakistani and Indian snack recipes that you can try out are:
- Paneer Tikka Sandwich
- Potato and Chicken Croquettes
- Daal and Aloo Bun Kebab
- Keema Samosa
- Chicken Box Patties
- Vegetable patties (Spicy potato puff pastry)
Would love it if you could try out and rate the recipe, and let me know how it was in the comments below!
Spicy Chili French Fries | Masala Fries
- 750 grams potatoes sliced into French fries (or same quantity of frozen fries)
- ½ teaspoon chaat masala
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder
- ½ teaspoon dried mango powder / amchur powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice
- Place the chaat masala, red chili powder, dried mango powder and salt in a medium sized bowl. Mix the spice mix and set aside.
- To make fresh French fries: Peel the potatoes. Wash and cut into French fries. Soak the sliced potatoes in water, and let them sit for about 5 – 10 minutes. This step removes the excess starch in potatoes. Drain the potatoes, and lightly pat dry. Heat the oil in a karahi, wok or shallow frying on medium high heat.
- Once the oil is ready, add the sliced potatoes and fry till the potatoes are golden brown in colour.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the fries from the hot oil, and place them on kitchen towel to drain the oil.
- To make frozen French fries: Frozen French fries can be made on the stove, in the airfryer or the oven. Prepare the frozen fries as per the instructions at the back of the packet. I prefer making frozen French fries using the air fryer.
- Place the cooked French fries in the bowl with the spice mix. Make sure that the potatoes are hot, as that will help the spice mix stick properly. Cover the bowl with a plate, or a lid and then shake vigorously for about 30 seconds. Take off the cover, add lemon juice and then give the French fries another toss.
- Serve the spicy chili French fries / masala fries hot with ketchup and chai.